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2 Samuel 12-14
David's adultery with Bathsheba, a violation of the Seventh Commandment ("Thou shalt not commit adultery") was further complicated with an unlawful killing, a violation of the Sixth Commandment ("Thou shalt not kill"), of Bathsheba's husband Uriah (the adultery did not "escalate" into something more serious, an unlawful killing, because all of The Lord's Ten Commandments are equal in seriousness e.g. violating the Sabbath is just as serious as murder). The Lord sent Nathan The Prophet to rebuke David, using David's own response to an allegory that the former shepherd could relate to.
"And The Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his morsel, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him."
The Lord's wrath then came.
"Then Nathan went to his house. And The Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat food with them.
David and Bathsheba were forgiven, for the sake of Israel and the royal line that had been established for a greater purpose (see the Fact Finder question below). They had another child, Solomon, who would be king of Israel after David.
"Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And The Lord loved him, and sent a message by Nathan the prophet; so he called his name Jedidiah, because of The Lord." (2 Samuel 12:24-25 RSV)
2 Samuel Chapter 13
Although the situation with Bathsheba was overcome, David's family problems were just beginning. Tamar was a daughter of King David and Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3, 13:1). Absalom was Tamar's full brother; he was also a son of David and Maacah. Amnon was King David's firstborn son, born to Ahinoam of Jezreel (1 Chronicles 3:1, 2 Samuel 3:2); Tamar and Absalom, and their half-brother Amnon, all had the same father, King David, but different mothers.
Amnon found himself in a state of lustful infatuation with his young half-sister Tamar; after she consistently rejected his advances, he brutally ravished her. Thereafter his "love" for her immediately turned to loathing and contempt, manifesting the very-common human trait of someone hating a person they have injured or wronged, a warped psychological maneuver in an attempt to soothe a guilty conscience.
"She answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me; for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this wanton folly. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the wanton fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray you, speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you." But he would not listen to her; and being stronger than she, he forced her, and lay with her."
After David found out about it, although furious, he did nothing, except to keep it quiet, but Absalom did not allow Amnon's crime to go unpunished. He bided his time, and when the opportunity for his vengeance came, Absalom had Amnon killed.
"When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar."
Absalom then fled, leaving David in a state of conflicting emotions.
"But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day.
2 Samuel Chapter 14
Eventually, David permitted Absalom's return to Jerusalem, although two more years would go by before the king agreed to meet with him. While David mourned Absalom's absence, the king still couldn't stand the sight of him.
"So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. And the king said, "Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence." So Absalom dwelt apart in his own house, and did not come into the king's presence." (2 Samuel 14:23-24 RSV)
Absalom's rash character made itself evident again; by means of an act of arson, and the obvious threat of more, Absalom forced Joab to get him in to see the king. David welcomed him, but he would soon be very sorry that he allowed his dangerous son back to Jerusalem at all. Absalom's next target would be David himself.
"So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence.
Fact Finder: How many royal dynasties did Israel have? How many royal dynasties did Judah have?